How to write super-effective meta descriptions

How to write super-effective meta descriptions

Sure, the landscape of SEO has changed significantly in the last several years but that’s no excuse to miss the fundamentals. Meta descriptions are one such technique, now surprisingly overlooked as digital marketers focus on more innovative measures.

It’s a shame because meta descriptions are still just as important now as they ever were. Providing the last chance to attract a user to your site from the search listings, these shouldn’t be underestimated. Although you’re limited by characters, this concise snippet of content could be just the persuasion needed for that all important click through.

Here’s a helpful guide on how to write super effective meta descriptions that grabs the attention of the user.

Don’t go over 155 characters

Google cuts off a meta description after its surpassed a certain width which usually equates to around 155 characters. To avoid any essential information being lost, avoid the temptation to write longer meta descriptions. Keep it brief yet concise, removing any unnecessary words.

Always use ‘action-orientated’ phrases

A great meta description usually includes at least one verb which acts as the call-action. This concise word or phrase lets the user know exactly what they’ll be receiving in return for clicking on your site. There shouldn’t be any ambiguity as users don’t have the patience for wasting their valuable time when browsing the web. Thinks words or phrases such as “Discover how to…” “Learn more about..” or “Browse our range…”

Sell your content

Whether users are clicking through to a recipe, a gym workout guide or retail product page, it’s essential to sell the content that they’ll see after clicking through. Give them a benefit or explain why your product or service is different than others. “Take a look at the worlds tastiest Lasagne Recipe…” or “Lose weight and feel more fulfilled by reading this simple guide…”

Connect with your audience

There’s nothing worse than a generic meta description, especially when you’re trying to compete in a crowded market. To stand out from the crowd, try getting into the mind of your audience – a strategy that’s important when crafting any compelling content. If you’re selling a service to medical professionals, try using more facts in the description which would likely have more of an impact. Maybe you’re trying to attract stay at home mums, so using a more friendly, approachable tone would be recommended.

 Keep it relevant and accurate

Old school practitioners might preach the importance of keyword stuffed meta descriptions or spam approaches but these techniques are now out dated. Deceiving the user into thinking they’ll see something other than what they get after they click onto your site will only result in speedy exits rates. Conversions will be non-existent and your brand image will suffer as a result of this deception. Keep your meta descriptions relevant and ensure they match the context of the page on which they’re linking to.

The website looks great. Thank you so much for all your hard work.

Simon Laking, Heyshott Parish Council

I just wanted to write to say an enormous thank you for all your help with our website. I think it looks fantastic and we have already received a number of compliments about its good looks and ease of use.

Elizabeth (Libby) Hobley, Lyddington Parish Council

Many thanks for all your help with this which has been very much appreciated.

Tim Simon, Wyck Rissington Parish Council

Setting up my new website was so quick and easy and updating it is very straightforward.

Jane Hunter, Fields Therapies

5 reasons why video should be part of your marketing strategy

Many organisations already make great use of video in their marketing campaigns. From John Lewis’ man on the moon to ASDA’s giant hen (if you haven’t seen it yet, take a look), using video and film as a way to engage audiences online is here to stay.

If your budget doesn’t stretch to multi millions but you’d still like to explore the opportunities that video content can give you, here are five top reasons why using video will help you market your organisation more effectively:

  1. Ninety per cent of information understood by the brain is visual.
    This implies that rather than drowning your viewers with text heavy articles (as much as we love great copy), a simple two-minute video is more effective at passing the same information across and boosting memory recall.
  2. Seven out of 10 people view brands in a more positive light after watching interesting video content from them.*
    It’s all about recognition and relevance for your target customers. If you focus on content that is educational, entertaining, inspiring and informative, your potential customers will trust you more, recognise your brand and even spread the word (by liking, sharing and retweeting your content to their peer groups).
  3. Video will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic by 2017.
    There’s no doubt that video is on the way up and that brands will have to start creating content in order to reach their target audiences.
  4. One in three Britons watch a YouTube video at least once a week.
    That’s a weekly audience of 20 million in the UK alone. YouTube is now owned by Google and is the UK’s second biggest search engine, so having video content that’s relevant to your customers helps you with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
  5. The brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster and more effectively than text.
    People spend on average 28% of their online time on social networks. Brands that engage readers with quality visual and video content have the benefit of standing out in what is an increasingly crowded space.

    Video content is here to stay. Brands that want to appeal to their customers should adopt a content centred marketing approach if they want to continue to grow their online presence.

Social Media – Is It Right For Me?

Social Media – Is It Right For Me?

If your business isn’t currently using social media, now is the time to consider why that is. These days, online presence is everything, and interacting with your customers in a variety of ways can win you valuable sales. Maintaining an effective social media campaign takes a bit of work, but many companies believe it to be worth the investment in time and effort. Here’s our summary of the main social media platforms, and things you should think about before deciding to sign up:

Facebook

Interacting with your customers via Facebook gives you the opportunity to share content , advice and opinions, entering into a conversation with people who are interested in your brand. You should make sure that your posts are interesting and original, and that you respond to any communication in a timely and professional manner, as it will be seen by a wider audience.

Twitter

Share short 140-character messages and links with followers, enabling you to send (and receive!) instant information about offers, products, news, or anything else you think your customers may be interested in. You need to ensure you tweet frequently enough to show that you’re current and up-to-date, but not so often that you become annoying – most companies find that 1-3 tweets per day is about right.

LinkedIn

This is a business networking site, a B2B social network, which is great for building new connections and generating sales leads. The more time you invest in making your LinkedIn profile relevant and engaging, and in interacting with other users, the better the results you’re likely to get from it. You can get by simply by creating a profile, but to really get noticed you need to regularly update your status, participate in discussion groups and even try out paid advertising.

Pinterest and Instagram

These are image-driven social networks, so are particularly useful and relevant for e-commerce and lifestyle products, and perhaps less so for industrial or commercial businesses. Using images to promote your brand allows you to be creative – even if you don’t have a visual product or service to market, you can find images which celebrate your company values, local events, and anything you think may be interest.

Using social media can be good for your business in a number of ways:

  • Customer Service and Insights: Your customers may contact you for support or with pre-sale queries, allowing your response to help boost the reputation of your brand. You can gain a valuable insight into who your customers are and how they feel about your business.
  • Increased Brand Visibility and Trust: Potential customers who see that you are on social media know that they have an easy way to get in touch, and that you’re approachable.
  • Promote Your Content and Drive Website Traffic: Being talked about and mentioned on social media shows that you have a popular brand, and that you have something worth sharing.

Why You May Choose NOT To Use Social Media:

Ultimately, Facebook, Twitter and any other social media platform can only be an effective tool for your business if you use it effectively. Done badly, infrequently, or half-heartedly, it can actually cause more harm than good. Nobody wants to click onto a company Facebook page only to find it hasn’t been updated for months, messages from customers haven’t been responded to, and all the offers you’re featuring have already ended. Once you commit to having a profile on a social networking site, you need to invest the time and attention needed to keep it current and interesting – if you can’t do that, it may be better not to have one, and definitely don’t link to an unmaintained profile from your website.

I Want To Give It A Go – What’s Next?

If you’re a complete beginner in the world of social media, it can be a bit daunting to know where to begin. Many companies select one of their younger employees to be a ‘social champion’, as they’re likely to already have a good understanding of how each channel should be used effectively.

Some companies outsource their social media, employing an agency or online marketing professional to keep their profiles alive. If you would like to explore this option please contact us at Amity and ask for Laurence who will be happy to discuss social media with you.

 

Four Creative Ways to Attract More Visitors to Your Website

Four Creative Ways to Attract More Visitors to Your Website

It’s hard to get ahead if no one sees the incredible work you’re making. We break down how to get people to your website, and get on their radar.

“How can I get more website visitors?”

This is one of the most common questions I hear from clients, frustrated at the lack of business their website brings them.

Often, there isn’t much wrong with the site itself — it’s professionally designed, and the portfolio is full of gorgeous work. But it just sits there, in an obscure corner of the Internet, being quietly ignored.Taking a website from zero to a few hundred or even a few thousand visitors a month is not easy, but it’s eminently doable — as long as you recognize a harsh truth about the Internet:

The online world is an attention economy. Attention is finite, and therefore scarce. So if you want people to pay attention to you, you need to earn it.

You can’t expect your work to speak for itself. Most of the time, it won’t. You need to accept that marketing is part of your job, just as much as making.

But the game changes when you start applying your creativity to your marketing — it becomes more fun as well as more effective. Here are four ways to use your creativity to attract the right kind of visitors to your website.

1. Create an amazing blog.

Note the word ‘amazing’. I’m not talking about a blog you only update when you’ve got a new client or exhibition, or something new to sell. I’m not talking about a personal diary where you to post your musings on art, life, and the universe. I mean the kind of blog that grabs people’s attention by delivering outstandingly valuable, useful, or entertaining material — consistently.

Instead of writing, ‘here’s my latest work’, write about:

  • “Here’s how I made it” – with pictures and/or video. Like this or this or this.
  • “Here’s what inspired it” – if you like it, chances are your audience will like it too. Like this or this.
  • “Here’s how you can make one like it.” Like this or this.
  • “Here’s a gadget that makes my work better (and could help you too).” Like this.

Instead of burying your opinions in long paragraphs of diary-style ‘musings’, put them out there loud and clear:

  • Devote an entire blog post to nailing ONE idea.
  • Start with a compelling headline.
  • Ask yourself ‘So what? Why should anyone care?’ — and make that the start of the post.
  • Give concrete examples.
  • Invite comments by ending with a question. For example: I’m a designer. Use me better.

And don’t forget to ask for the subscription! Repeat visitors are the best visitors, so one of your goals is to build an audience of loyal subscribers. Ask people to subscribe and offer an email option to make it easy.

2. Give (some of) your best work away for free.

Just so we’re clear: I’m not one of those internet hippies who tells you “information wants to be free”, so you should give away all your best work and forget about being paid. (Have you noticed those guys tend to have a comfortable salary or professorship?)

But for most creatives obscurity is a greater threat than piracy. If no one’s ever heard of you, they won’t even bother to rip you off, let alone pay for your work.

So take advantage of the spreadability of digital content by giving away something valuable and encouraging people to share it with their contacts:

  • the first chapter of your novel (or even an entire novella)
  • a free report or e-book, full of insanely useful information
  • one of the best tracks from your album
  • a design template
  • high-resolution images
  • a series of tutorials
  • videos that anyone can embed in their site

Use a Creative Commons license to make it clear what people are allowed to do with the work. And make sure it’s something genuinely valuable. If you feel slightly uncomfortable about giving away something so good, you’re on the right track. Otherwise, why would anyone get excited enough to tell their friends?But don’t give away the farm. Make sure you have plenty in reserve — products, services, artworks — for the folks who want to take things further and buy from you.

3. Borrow someone else’s audience.

Why build an audience from scratch when you can borrow one that someone else has spent months or years assembling? No, it’s not unethical — in fact, the ‘someone’ in question will love you for it.

Writing high-quality guest posts for popular blogs in your niche is one of the most effective ways to get yourself on the radar of the people you want to reach. Your ‘payment’ is a link back to your site — make a great offer and you could land hundreds of new subscribers with every guest post you write.

And make sure it’s your best work. This is your chance to make a big impression — don’t blow it by sending out second-rate articles and keeping the best stuff for your own site.

4. Get your content into circulation.

Have you noticed that of the three tips so far, only one of them is centered around your site? (No. 2 may start on your site, but the real magic happens when people start sharing it with their friends.) If you really want more visitors, you have to go out and find them.

Social networking sites are not just for networking — they are ideal places to get your content (blog posts, videos, free reports, etc) in front of other people. Use Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ to share links to your content. Make use of portfolio sites like Behance to showcase your work in places where people go to look for it.

And be generous — share more of other people’s content than your own. That way, you not only help others (good digital karma!) you also position yourself as a go-to authority, a source of cool stuff who people want to follow.

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None of these methods is a quick fix. They require time, effort, and persistence. But the good news is the benefits are cumulative – as your blog attracts links and subscribers, as your free content gets into circulation, and as you get known as a rising star in your niche, you’ll find yourself attracting more and more new visitors for every hour you spend on marketing.And no, website visitors don’t necessarily equal customers — otherwise there’d be a lot more Internet millionaires! Read my next article on turning visitors into buyers here.